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How to choose the right channels for comms and engagement

“We need a poster!” Can we have a page in the magazine? I’ve shot this video on my iPhone.”

How many times do internal communication conversations start like that? Once you’ve nodded and smiled, it’s the skill of the strategic communicator to steer the discussion in the direction of results.

Kate Jones Here Kate Jones, (pictured), Head of internal communicates at Atkins and a firm believer in IC skills, measurement and people-powered change writes for my blog about choosing the right channel for the job.

Plus she shares an infographic she has created to help you make that choice.

Kate started her IC career straight from uni in ‘the great editorial era’ and has been an interested observer and participant in our move to the era of engagement.

She volunteers as a board director with the Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC) and lives on Twitter at @how_IC_it. Her blog is at how_IC_it. Over to you Kate…

How to choose the right channels for comms and engagement

Channel_chooser_howICitI’ve found that no matter how long I work in IC (18 years and counting), no matter the organisation (three so far and countless clients agency-side), no matter the message (change, new systems, new processes, new people), stakeholders can’t help but start with “the pretty”.

At that point I usually start drawing on my notebook to help people work out the results or outcomes they’re after for the different audiences they need to reach.

From conversations with fellow IC’ers at work or at events like The Big Yak, it sounds like it’s an ongoing challenge that we all share.

So I’ve taken that page from my notebook and turned it into an infographic which I hope will help steer those outcome-based comms planning discussions.

On the infographic you’ll see:

  • The comms outcome you’re looking for: awareness, understanding, acceptance, commitment, to ownership
  • The popular Melcrum approach of ‘know; feel; do’
  • And in between, my take on the channels that broadly achieve each outcome.

For example, it shows your stakeholder that their beloved poster will do a great job at raising awareness and, if that’s the only outcome they need, job done!

But if we’re looking to change opinions or behaviour – and move up the outcome ladder – we should build in channels that allow more two-way and tailored communication. (Tweet this)

The channels I mention aren’t an exhaustive list but the ones I come across and use most often.

There’s also overlap between outcomes – for example, a brilliant video, using engaging leaders and great success stories from all levels of the business, is perfectly capable of moving viewers right through from ‘know’ and ‘feel’ and inspire them to ‘do’.

I’ve found that plotting comms channels in this way makes it tangible and really helps non-comms folks to understand the pros and cons of using each – and how they all fit together to build an effective and outcome-led comms plan.

Of course, there’s also a discussion around the message delivered through each channel and at each stage of the campaign – but that’s a whole ’nother infographic…

You can download the full infographic here and see it larger below.

Post author: Kate Jones.

I think this is a really useful infographic, thank you very much for sharing Kate. What do you think? Will this help you make those channel decisions?

As ever you’re welcome to comment below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC.

Four final thoughts

1. Glossary of internal communication
If you’re new to internal communication and want to know what the terms in this or any of my articles mean, don’t forget to check out my IC glossary.

2. Looking for a new role?
If you are on the hunt for a new comms job, look no further. My jobs page is now packed with a wide variety of roles at all levels, from entry level IC to Director level.

I’ve featured as many non-agency jobs as I can. This means you can apply directly to the employer. There are some peachy roles around at the moment (that’s not the professional term, but check out the list – I think you’ll agree!).

3. Calendar of comms events
Every week I get asked by professional communicators if I’m aware of any courses, events or conferences to attend. I have a comms calendar page and keep it regularly updated, and this is the place to look.

4. Recommended books
If you are looking for a good book to read related to communication, see my article featuring 31 books to read to learn about Comms and PR It features the Amazon reading lists I’ve published every year since 2009 and includes books I’ve contributed to.

Rachel

Channel_chooser_howICit

First published on All Things IC 10 August 2014. Updated 2017.

 

Comments

  1. Nicole says:

    Great infographic! Could you say more about storytelling, particularly how it differentiates from intranet stories? Do you mean use storytelling in webinars, workshops, 121s, etc.? I’d also like to hear more about the “Ideas into Action” step.

  2. Kate says:

    Hi Nicole, glad you like the infographic. Yes, storytelling is different from intranet stories. In a nutshell, it means including a personal story or experience that will appeal to people emotionally. So on a CEO webinar, for example, the CEO could relay a conversation she’d had with a client; or reflect on a personal experience that has changed the way he balances work/life…

    The ideas into action step could be where employees have put forward suggestions eg at a workshop, or off their own bat, and the have been adopted. How proud would someone be to see their idea turned into something the whole team, department or even company is now doing?!

  3. […] how to choose the right channels to map the outcome with the output. Kate Jones previously did a guest blog for Rachel Miller on this topic, and it includes a very useful infographic. Kate plots channels […]

  4. […] you haven’t already done so, now might be the time to think about the purpose of each channel. This blog by Rachel Miller is well worth a read to get you started on […]

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